Category Archives: FutureTech

The $12 Gongkai Phone

Amazing bit of techno journalism by Bunnie Huang that tracked down a particular piece of hardware in China, and what that piece of hardware says about the future of gadgets and open.

$12 is the price paid for a single quantity retail, contract-free, non-promotional, unlocked phone — in a box with charger, protective silicone sleeve, and cable. In other words, the production cost of this phone is somewhere below the retail price of $12. Rumors place it below $10.

This is a really amazing price point. That’s about the price of a large Domino’s cheese pizza, or a decent glass of wine in a restaurant.

via The $12 Gongkai Phone « bunnie’s blog.

Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle

This is a wonderfully detailed article about an interesting new blend of weapon and tech…the Precision Guided Firearm. For those unfamiliar with guns, it’s effectively a computer-assisted firearm, relying on a human to pick a target and tell the gun where you’d like the bullet to go. The gun then tells you when it’s in the right position and angle to actually hit the target you chose, and fires appropriately. According to the article linked below, the reporters were able to hit targets the size of a dinner plate at 1000 yards…insane, unheard of accuracy even for the very best human marksmen.

With a marketing plan that involves iPads, Google Glass, and gamification of target practice, this company is very, very savvy. I am interested to see what they come up with, and how quickly this system drops in price.

The Precision Guided Firearm is a “whole widget” type of thing—it’s not just a fancy scope on top of a fancy gun, but rather a tightly integrated system coupling a rifle, an ARM-powered scope running a modified version of Angström Linux (with some custom BitBake recipes and kernel modules to support the rifle’s proprietary hardware), and a linked trigger mechanism whose weighting is controlled by the scope.

via Bullseye from 1,000 yards: Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle | Ars Technica.

How doctors printed my new face – Telegraph

Another example of how 3D printing is revolutionizing certain medical procedures. Prior to the spread of 3D design and printing, this work was done by individual artists at huge expense and with often long turn around times…and, with no disrespect to the artists involved, often not as much precision and matching of existing structures.

By creating scans of what was left of his skull and using computers to recreate what his face would look like, they were able to use a new type of printer that builds up layer upon layer of nylon plastic to produce the exact components they would need.

via How doctors printed my new face – Telegraph.

MYO – The Gesture Control Armband

This looks….promising. I don’t expect any single type of input mechanism to “win” in the alternative-input-wars, as some combination device/system is more likely to be more effective. But this looks very interesting…

The MYO armband lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favorite digital technologies.

MYO – The Gesture Control Armband.

The DIY Kid-tracking Drone

via The DIY Kid-tracking Drone – IEEE Spectrum.

On school-day mornings, I walk my grade-school-age son 400 meters down the hill to the bus stop. Last winter, I fantasized about sitting at my computer while a camera-equipped drone followed him overhead.

 

So this year, I set out to build one.

I had said in several presentations that I was betting that 2012 was the year we’d see the first lawsuits for stalking-by-drone. This project is the first steps to that…if you use professional-grade hardware and add in facial recognition, it’s within the boundaries of current technology to build a drone that identifies someone visually, and then just follows them around, filming them.

That said: This is a _freaking cool_ project. :-)